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Subject: Cymorth!
From: Marta Weingartner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:WELSH Language Bulletin Board <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 13 Mar 1995 15:47:00 EST
Content-Type:text/plain
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Re Susan Cook's message of 13 March 1995:
 
  < Please forgive the English.  Could someone out there translate "All
  < Through the Night" from English to Welsh and tell me the words to the
  < song (in English and in Welsh)?  I'd like to learn it and I can't find it
  < anywhere.  Diolch yn fawr.
 
    The most famous words to the tune "Ar Hyd y Nos" ("All Through the Night")
are the words by Ceiriog (John Ceiriog Hughes, 1832-1887); they are in Welsh,
and they are the oldest ones I know.  The only versions I've ever heard in
English have either been a pale translation of Ceiriog's words, or a completely
different poem with sappy words.  At any rate, Ceiriog's poem is not a
translation of any English version.
 
   Here are Ceiriog's words:            Approximate translation:
 
1. Holl amrantau'r se+r ddywedant,      All the twinkling of the stars say,
   Ar hyd y nos,                        All through the night,
   "Dyma'r ffordd i fro gogoniant,"     "This is the way to the land of glory,"
   Ar hyd y nos.                        All through the night.
   Golau arall yw tywyllwch,            Darkness is another light,
   I arddangos gwir brydferthwch,       To display true beauty,
   Teulu'r nefoedd mewn tawelwch        The family of the heavens in quietness
   Ar hyd y nos.                        All through the night.
 
2. O mor siriol gwena'r seren,          O how cheerfully smiles the star,
   Ar hyd y nos,                        All through the night,
   I oleuo'i chwaer-ddaearen,           To light up its sister earth,
   Ar hyd y nos.                        All through the night.
   Nos yw henaint pan ddaw cystudd,     Old age is night, when affliction
                                           comes,
   Ond i harddu dyn a'i hwyrddydd,      But to beautify man at the end of his
                                           day,
   Rhown ein golau gwan i'n gilydd,     Let us shine our weak light on one
                                           another,
   Ar hyd y nos.                        All through the night.
 
(The sign + indicates a circumflex.)
 
Now here's a version by A.G. Prys-Jones which, though a bit overblown, is an
attempt, at least, to render the sentiments of Ceiriog's poem into English:
 
     1. Ev'ry star in heaven is singing
        All through the night,
        Hear the glorious music ringing
        All through the night.
        Songs of sweet ethereal lightness
        Wrought in realms of peace and whiteness;
        See, the dark gives way to brightness
        All through the night.
 
     2. Look, my love, the stars are smiling
        All through the night.
        Lighting, soothing and beguiling
        Earth's sombre plight:
        So, when age brings grief and sorrow,
        From each other we can borrow
        Faith in our sublime tomorrow,
        All through the night.
 
And finally, though I hate to sink so low, here are the incredibly drippy words
which are often sung to this tune in America:
 
     1. Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee
        All thro' the night.
        Guardian angels God will send thee,
        All thro' the night,
        Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
        Hill and vale in slumber steeping,
        I my loving vigil keeping
        All thro' the night.
 
     2. While the moon her watch is keeping,
        All thro' the night;
        While the weary world is sleeping
        All thro' the night.
        O'er thy spirit gently stealing,
        Visions of delight revealing,
        Breathes a pure and holy feeling,
        All thro' the night.
 
Authorship of this last mess has to be laid at the feet of one Harold Boulton.
        Marta Weingartner
        [log in to unmask]

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